Trunkline 2012: Friday’s Wrap-Up of News from the Campaign Trail

Today’s Trunkline 2012 presents to you tales of trouble for our President regarding Benghazi and his reelection chances as well as other tid-bits such as the potential names in Romney’s future Administration, what Vice President Biden finds funny about breast cancer, na ew ad from the families of the victims of the Ft. Hood terrorist attack  makes a plea to the President ,  a look at the dignity and grace of the Romneys, video of the hysterical speeches offered by Obama and Romney at the Al Smith dinner, and as always, much more

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White House 2012: View Video of the Entire CBS/National Journal Republican Presidential Here

Bookmark and Share   Last night’s Republican presidential debate on foreign policy allowed the G.O.P. candidates to identify that which unites the Party and divides the Party, not to mention the nation as well.  While Ron Paul was the most contrarian candidates on the stage, one of the areas of major disagreement within the G.O.P. field was on foreign aid. 

Some candidates stood firm on starting every nation off with a zero sum in foreign aid.  Newt Gingrich in particular made some good points in that area.  Other candidates however, tried to explain a reality which forces us to accept certain levels of foreign aid to certain nations, as a necessary component to national security. 

For a more detailed analysis of last evening’s debate, click here.

To develop your own opinion, view the debate in its entirety by playing the following series of seven videos.

A transcript of the debate will provided by White House 2012 as soon as possible.

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And that’s time

In a short hour and a half, made up of minute responses and thirty second followups, the GOP candidates once again took the stage to answer questions from semi-respectful moderators.  In a debate most looked forward to by Ron Paul fans, Paul received very little time. We have seen pretty much all there is to be seen about candidate style, and many of these questions were repeats.  So here are the winners and losers:

The Good

Mitt Romney won this debate.  His answers were calming, yet clear and determined.  He portrayed the very stature Americans are looking for in a Commander in Chief, and he highlighted American Exceptionalism.  This area is a strong suit for Mitt, and one that does not involve any sort of past flip flops or policy changes.  His answers should give him a bump among social conservatives who are inspired by terms like American Exceptionalism.

Newt at one point had to school the moderators on war versus criminal law.  In some ways this debate seemed frustrating for Newt, but that is an aspect of him his followers often like to see.  Newt brings the fight to the moderators and to the left and usually wins.  Many of his answers were right on, but others were somewhat vague.  One thing that Newt will lose points for is how loosely he called for covert operations in countries like Iran and Syria.  This is something Newt has brought up as a policy in debates and speeches in the past, but is something better left unsaid.

Jon Huntsman did well in the debate.  The question on a tradewar with China is a favorite of most media moderators because it gives them a chance to toss Huntsman an easy softball.    Foreign policy hits many of Huntsman’s strong points without touching many of the issues that conservatives hate him for.  It won’t matter though, Huntsman is done.

The Bad

Santorum did pretty well.  He has the unfortunate bad luck of being a candidate on the back end of two long wars and sharing a policy that sounds eerily like Bush’s.  On the other hand, Santorum seemed to be saying that we need to keep funding Pakistan and being their friend because they have a Nuke.  True or not, Santorum is not going to win American hearts saying implying that we must borrow from China to pay off Pakistan to be our friend.

I have a feeling that media moderators purposefully cut Paul’s debate time short on debates like this to get his supporters riled up.  Get ready, we are going to hear about that for the next week or so.  Paul didn’t do bad for most of the debate, but some of his stances are really not correct.  The idea that the United States must capture a citizen who has declared war on the United States and bring them in to face civilian court, or that non-uniformed terrorists have any sort of rights under US law is wrong and violates precedent.  Gingrich and Perry were absolutely right on those counts.  Paul’s supporters were being their typical selves in the debate as well, to the point where the mods had to admonish them to be respectful.  They are another liability of Paul’s with the overall GOP.

Herman Cain reminded me a lot of Rick Perry in recent debates.  Without 9-9-9 to fall back on, Cain was slow in responses, vague, and seemed as though he would happily defer to a future self, surrounded by knowledgeable generals and advisers.  That’s great, but that is not leadership.  In that respect, Huntsman showed up Cain, and even Gingrich, when he said if a nuke was loose in Pakistan he would secure it.  Cain really did not give a performance that screamed “I am a leader”.  Instead, each response sounded like “How can I answer this without ruining my campaign”.

The Ugly

Michele Bachmann continues to be unimpressive and unmemorable.  She scored some points rebutting Ron Paul, but seemed to spend most of the night trying to get the moderators to let her respond to other candidates.  She also seemed to get less time.  However, I will give her a great deal of credit for her answers on ways to trim military spending without hurting the military.

Rick Perry still doesn’t debate well.  And once again he found himself as the butt of several jokes, made both by the moderators, himself, and Senator Graham.  Perry’s idea of zero based budgeting for foreign aide is a great idea, but the only reason it’s his is because he got to say it first.  Gingrich and Romeny both articulated it better when Perry was done.

But allow me a Newt Gingrich moment to say this.  The real loser was Barack Obama.  The candidates made it clear, once again, that every single one of them would run foreign policy better than Obama.  Several drove home the point that Obama had a range of good choices and bad choices and made all the bad ones and none of the good ones.  The only ambivalent candidate who actually seemed to end up on Obama’s side for some things was Ron Paul.  This is one of the aspects of Newt Gingrich’s leadership because he has focused these debates on defeating Barack Obama, and when Newt sets the tone the other candidates usually follow.

Trunkline 2012: Saturday Political News in Review and the Cinema Politico Movie of the Week 11/12/11

Bookmark and Share  Saturdays edition of  Trunkline 2012 reveals where to watch tonight’s debate, photo of Rick Perry’s debate preparation, Buddy Roemer’s bitter twitter, the California Supreme Court’s ruling for Mexican flag and against our American flag, Newtmentum, the Obama Administration’s praise of Jon Corzine’s economic expertise,  the guest lineup and topics of this Sunday’s morning news programs, this week’s Cinema Politico Saturday night movie feature, and as always, more.

  • Watch tonight’s CBS/National Journal Republican presidential debate on foreign policy live here, starting at 8:00 PM ET
  • Hours before the CBS/ National Journal foreign policy debate and Rick Perry Tweets: “Debate prep in Spartanburg, SC !! “http://t.co/uwdY27IN
  • A frustrated and inconsequential Buddy Roemer tweets I’ve decided to go to the movies tonight instead of tweeting the debate. Less BS.”  Aren’t we bitter? Maybe he should join OWS protesters and watch the debate with them.
  • Some Advice for Newt Gingrich from White House 2012
  • Turning an elephant into a Newt?   Newtmentum kicks in!
  • 10 character assassination attempts by liberals
  • NPR runs nasty hit piece on Herman Cain
  • Cain: I wouldn’t be Romney’s VP — but I’d consider being his secretary of defense
  • Ironic Flashback, 2009: Biden touts Jon Corzine as economic go-to guy for Team Obama
  • If this doesn’t piss you off, nothing will: California Students: Court Rules Mexican Flag Okay on May 5th – American Flag Not Okay on May 5th 
  • With Debt There is No DemocracySunday Morning Political News Program Guest lineup:

ABC’s “This WeekRoundtables on politics and Iran.   NBC’s “Meet the Press” 2012 GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann; Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee.   CBS’ “Face the Nation” 2012 GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Govs. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., and Haley Barbour, R-Miss.   CNN’s “State of the Union” Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas; Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa “Fox News Sunday” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.; Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.; Gov. Tom Corbett, R-Pa.; Penn State student body President T.J. Bard; former Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris.

W takes viewers through Bush’s eventful life — his struggles and triumphs, how he found both his wife and his faith, and of course the critical days leading up to Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.  Oliver Stone’s biographical take on the life of George W. Bush, chronicles a liberal view of  George W. Bush’s life from his wild and carefree days in college, to his military service, to his governorship of Texas and role in the oil business, his 2000 candidacy for president, his first turbulent four years, and his 2004 re-election campaign.

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W. - on Hulu (You need to register with Hulu to see the movie. Registration is quick, free, and easy)

Is TEA Party Favorite Niki Haley Readying to Endorse Herman Cain or Mitt Romney?

Bookmark and Share    While endorsements of one politician by other politicians do not exactly change the minds about those candidates who they like or dislike, some endorsements are more important than others. Such is the case with South Carolina Governor and TEA movement favorite Niki Haley.

In addition to having influence among some TEA movement leaders who have committed themselves to her and the limited government, constitution respecting, conservative cause she fights for, she is also the influential leader of a state whose early primary could be a tipping point in the quest to name a Republican presidential nominee. Not only does her approval garner much media attention, it also provides for significant organizational strength from the state Republican Party and TEA movement activists.

Furthermore, given the timing of Haley’s state’s G.O.P. presidential primary, which precedes the important delegate rich Forida primary by one week, her endorsement could help to make winning in Sunshine State a very real possibility for the candidate who has won South Carolina. And winning both of those states could be just enough to kill the forward momentum of those who lose in both states.

So while the endorsement’s of other Governors have value, some, like Nikki Haley, have more value than others.

With this in mind, in recent weeks, both Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have been egaged in a sort of endorsement battle involving evryone from Governors, to state legislators, county execs and congressional leaders but the focus is on Governors.

Last week on the day that Mitt Romney announced the surprise endorsement of former Minnesota Governor and presidential rival Tim Pawenty, Romney seemed to be on the road to consolidating establishment support behind him. But on that same day, not long after the Pawlenty announcement , Rick Perry announced that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was endorsing him.

Comparing the two, while Pawlenty is a former Governor who is losing influence as time goes by, Jindal is an incumbent Governor, running for reelection and seen as a rising Republican. That was game, set, match for Perry that day.

Shortly after that, Romney announced that he received the endorsement of  27 New Hampshire legislators. Perry subsequently announced twenty one South Carolina GOP Legislators were endorsing him for President.

Romney then announced former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman’s endorsements of him, but Perry scooped Romney again.  this time by announcing that he was endorsed by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. That one hurt. Nevada is considered fertile territory for Romney and a loss in that state’s relatively early contest would be a setback for Romney.

Now most recently, Perry announced that he was receiving conservative Governor Sam Brownback’s endorsement. That one kind of put Perry ahead in the endorsement battle.

But now we learn from from the National Journal’s Tim Alberta that the critical endorsement of South Carolina’s Niki Haley, looks like it will be awarded to Mitt Romney.

During a speech to grass root Republicans and Party leaders at an annual G.O.P. Leadership Conference in Mackinac, Michigan, Governor Haley called next year’s contest “the most important presidential election we’ve had in a long time,” and she told the audience that need to get behind a republican running for President “who puts substance ahead of style.”

Governor Haley said. “We’re not going to vote for personality — we saw where that got us last time,”. She added “We need a true executive to get us back on track.”

After her official remarks, in an interview with Hot Line On Call, Niki Haley explained that she is looking for a candidate who has a proven business background and is “An executive — that means business people”.

She further added;

“What I’m looking for is someone who understands the debt, someone who understands that we need to be energy independent, someone who will… get people back to work.”

Of the existing G.O.P. presidential candidates, Governor Haley’s description could point two one of only two people………….. Mitt Romney or Herman Cain.

A part of me believes that her language which stresses an aggressive focus on the keywords and phrases “a true executive” and “business people”,is most apropos for TEA Party language used to describe Herman Cain. But there are two consideration here that lead me to believe she actually means Mitt Romney.

The first is this. If she intends to endorse Herman Cain, doing so sooner rather than later would behoove Herman Cain. It would give him access to much needed campaign fundraising capabilities. It would also provide some of the credibility to his candidacy that he needs in order to make many voters who are reluctant about how far Cain go in the primary battle, and alow them to view him as a more viable candidate than they currently see him to be.

So if Niki Haley intends to endorse Cain, the time for that was yesterday, before the Florida debate and its weekend straw poll.

The other consideration is that Mitt Romney was there for Nikki Haley when she needed it during her campaign first for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and then again during her gubernatorial election. He stumped with her, and he provided significant financial contributions to her campaign. This is not to say that Haley owes this to Mitt Romney, but after first Sarah Palin who was also there for Haley, she kind of does owe it to him. Furthermore, Haley’s focused language on being an executive and business leader, fits quite well with Romney’s own painstaking attempts to paint himself as a private sector business leader, and not a career politician.

So while I will not say for sure that Nikki Haley’s endorsement is for Romney instead of Cain, I will say that Romney does look more likely to be the candidate that she gets behind. Whoever she means though, it doesn’t sound like she is referring to Rick Perry.  and if Romney does get her backing, it will be more than a slam dunk for him . It’ll be a three pointer that leaves Perry saying “ouch”.

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Pence Out?

Mike Pence may be announcing his plans for 2012 tomorrow. At least that’s what his family believes according to the National Journal. Rumors flying around the internet are that he will not run, and will instead consider running for Indiana governor. Stay tuned…

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